Cape Town - Mark Cavendish has been ruled out of Tirreno-Adriatico after a heavy crash on Wednesday's opening stage, in which he sustained a rib fracture, saw him finish outside of the official time limit.
The 32-year-old got back onto his bike after crashing and completed the stage, where he was immediately treated by Jarrad van Zuydam on the team bus.
Preliminary examination revealed no concussive symptoms but Cavendish did complain of pain in his chest which the medical staff ruled warranted further investigation at a local hospital.
"Unfortunately Mark was involved in a crash with about 5km to go in yesterday's team time trial," said Van Zuydam.
"He came down pretty hard at around 55km/h and he sustained multiple abrasions and soft tissue injuries to his knees, hips, hands and some swelling on his face as well; but he had a lot of rib pain which we went to x-ray, and found that he has a fracture of the seventh rib on the right side.
"The fracture's nice and stable and should heal well," he said.
"The plan was to let him start stage two but unfortunately it was ruled he finished outside the time limit and so won't be allowed to take the start," said Van Zuydam.
Cavendish expressed his gratitude for the messages of support he and the team had received since the incident.
"Thanks, as always, to everyone that's sent messages, it's hugely appreciated. It's frustrating to have crashed, particularly in light of the concussion that I sustained in Abu Dhabi, but I'm just pleased that there's no major damage done.
"Despite the pain from my injury I was really looking forward to a fast second stage and naturally disappointed that I'm not going to be a part of it."